Fox News Takes Conventional Way to the Top


Led by its coverage of the Republican National Convention, Fox News Channel took the top slot in basic cable’s primetime rankings last week.

Fox News -- grabbing eight of the top 10 and a share of 10 of the top 12 shows for the span -- averaged a 2.7 household rating Aug. 30-Sept. 5 and some 3.19 million viewers two-plus, according to a Disney ABC Cable Networks Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

Fox News edged out Turner Network Television, which averaged a 2.6 last week.

ESPN was third with a 1.7, while Lifetime Television, Nick at Nite, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel all shared the fourth spot with a 1.6 apiece.

There was also a logjam across the balance of the medium’s top 10, as TBS, Cable News Network, FX, A&E Network and The Weather Channel -- the latter with its coverage of Hurricane Frances -- all averaged a 1.2.

Fox News -- which notched its best performance in terms of top-rated programming since its coverage of the Iraqi war in March 2003 -- also fared well in the demo races.

The network was third among the advertiser-coveted adult 18-49 group with 962,000 of those watchers (TNT and ESPN had 1.29 million and 1.04 million, respectively) and second among adults 25-54 (its 1.18 million trailed TNT’s 1.44 million).

Fox News even cracked the top 10 among young adults, placing ninth with the 18-34 set, averaging 285,000 of those watchers a week ago.

A weekly scorecard showed that Fox News scored highest with President Bush’s acceptance address of the Republican nomination Sept. 2, averaging a 5.5 household rating from 10:07 p.m.-11:12 p.m. that night.

The second-highest-rated segment for the week was a 10-minute film about Bush introduced by New York Gov. George Pataki immediately preceding the president’s speech, which drew a 5.0 rating.

Only TNT’s Sept. 1 telecast of Law & Order from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. (a 4.0), Turner South’s coverage of the Major League Baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves Aug. 31 (3.8) and an Aug. 30 installment of L&O from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. (3.8) broke Fox News’ hold on the top 12 spots for the week.